No Vehicle Tax


What is the law on vehicle tax?

Any vehicle that is not exempt or declared SORN (subject to a Statutory Off Road Notice) has to be taxed and insured.

The Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994

What is the penalty for an untaxed vehicle?

The Act provides that a person who uses or keeps on the public road, a vehicle for which a road fund licence is not in force, shall be liable to whichever is the greater of the following penalties:

  1. An excise penalty; or
  2. An excise penalty equal to five times the amount of duty charged; or
  3. Back duty.

If a vehicle is not taxed, the DVLA can issue Court process, not only for the offence of failing to tax the vehicle, but also to recover back tax from when the DVLA believe that the vehicle was last taxed/SORN.

The DVLA would normally start proceedings directly, having failed to get a response to one warning letter. The penalty ranges are wide, with the maximum additional penalty up to 10 times the annual duty. Whilst the DVLA would normally commence proceedings within 6 months, they do in fact, have 3 years in certain circumstances to commence same.

In addition to making a claim for road fund licence/back tax etc, the DVLA can also seek a statutory punishment for allowing a vehicle to be uninsured, even if it is not used on the road, should the owner fail to declare it SORN.

Although these offences are not endorseable with penalty points, the fines can be substantial, particularly for commercial vehicles, repeat offences, or if there is a significant time since the last tax disc was purchased.

What if the vehicle was taxed?

As this is an absolute offence, if defended, the burden of proof is on the Defendant to establish that the vehicle was correctly taxed. The Court is entitled to assume that evidence from the DVLA that no tax has been paid proves the case, unless the Defendant can overcome that burden.

What if I bought a vehicle that was taxed?

Road Fund Licence no longer transfers with ownership. Unless the vehicle was purchased brand new and road tax obtained by the selling dealer on your behalf, you have an obligation to personally tax the vehicle as soon as you become the keeper of same.

What are the benefits of mitigation?

If you present viable mitigation, you may well be able to reduce the fine, costs and back tax payments. If you need guidance on this, we can assist.